logo image

ATD Blog

Put Virtual Learners in the Driver’s Seat to Increase Their Retention


Thu Mar 23 2017

Put Virtual Learners in the Driver’s Seat to Increase Their Retention
Put Virtual Learners in the Driver’s Seat to Increase Their Retention-35621f0e72b2017c78341057d64f525487f84c3ba683c24a857f0c685339c8f9

Adults learn by doing what they’re being taught. As a virtual trainer, it’s your job to get them “doing.” How do you accomplish this within the confines of your virtual platform? It’s time to stop blaming the technology. Get creative and implement hands-on activities to engage your attendees and help them retain what you’re teaching. These two tips will get you started to accomplish this goal: 

Don’t Let Your Technology Limit You. 

Once you know your platform and what it can (or can’t) do, don’t give up. If there is an activity that you want to incorporate into your training, but you lack the tools to accomplish it, it’s time to go hunting. Here are some workarounds for whiteboarding and breakout rooms. Attend our ATD 2017 session for many more!


Whiteboard: If your platform lacks drawing tools or the whiteboard functionality you wish you had, try Twiddla (www.twiddla.com), a free online whiteboard tool.

Breakout rooms: Consider using a teleconference line with a subconference option. This workaround enables your attendees to hold private discussions, increasing interaction and accountability. Try www.freeconferencecall.com or www.gorillaconferencing.com

You Can Manage Audiences When Some Are Live and Some Are Virtual 

When you have a mixed group, remote attendees often fend for themselves and end up feeling disconnected. Audio is one of the biggest challenges in these situations; here are a few low-tech ideas you can implement:

Ditch the speakerphone: No one can hear you or others in the room.

Presenter: Dial into the online meeting on your cell phone and use a Bluetooth or wireless headset.


Face-to-face attendees: Have them dial in on their cell phones, but ask them to keep them muted. When they have a question, they can unmute and speak into the phone.

Implementing these tips will get you started on taking your live online training beyond the basics and increasing your virtual training effectiveness, but there’s more to learn!

Join me at ATD 2017 on Sunday, May 21, in room A302 from 11:45 a.m.–1 p.m. to learn and practice with unique ways to use your existing virtual tools, more workarounds for platform limitations, how to work with a mixed audience, and tools you can use to increase collaboration. We’ll review creative activities you can implement to put your learners in the driver’s seat, no matter what your curriculum. Bring your fully charged laptop to this session to join in the fun!

You've Reached ATD Member-only Content

Become an ATD member to continue

Already a member?Sign In


Copyright © 2024 ATD

ASTD changed its name to ATD to meet the growing needs of a dynamic, global profession.

Terms of UsePrivacy NoticeCookie Policy